Archive for August 29th, 2015

Soft. Softer. Softer still.

What’s in a name?

My cousin said the other day that she liked 君 (jun), word for ruler or lord or gentleman, the word that our names share, because it was more 霸氣,  more domineering, more confident, more more, all those things that a girl might want in her life in this world.

I love that word too, but I don’t know that I want to keep it.

What I thought, but didn’t ask was: what has being hard brought me anyways?

A reputation for being a force of nature. Broken expectations that shattered my love. Ruined health from all the anger and despair I choked down with the notion of being strong. A bitter spirit and a cynical mind. Being thought to be impervious and thus fair game. Simultaneously the person who surprises people with my love of long hair and longer skirts and the person once compared to a declawed kitten.

The thing is, it’s not enough to be hard. It’s not enough to be domineering, arrogant, and unrelenting. Not unless you’re prepared to go all the way, dive off the edge of the world, and declare yourself to be an island unto yourself.

Logic. Reason. Sobriety. All tools that I used to keep myself safe when in actuality I was drowning in denial.

According to the Chinese stars, I carry three tigers, a torch, and three knives; the horoscope for my faults say that I “possess a significant capability for damage”.  Essentially, I’m a walking arsenal, a one-person army. My brother laughed and said that my new nickname should be Godzilla.

The thing is, like I said, it’s one thing to be Alexander the Great or Genghis Khan, but it’s another to be Cleombrotus or Napoleon. Or worse, someone who isn’t even noted in the annals. Either you go all the way, or history will sing of someone else.

All of the fortune-tellers that I’ve met have looked at my stars and shook their heads. One of them, more recently, said that my independence and stubbornness was … all right in this day and age. His tone said it all, that it was good that I was born in these times because if I were born in an earlier age, I would have been sent home to my parents in disgrace as a wife discarded for lack of virtue.

I know it.

I look in the mirror and I see a hard woman. An unhappy woman. The lines between my brows. The grooves that bracket my mouth. The downward tilt of my lips in rest. The awkward way a smile sits on my face when it’s not buoyed by genuine mirth.

Ignorance is bliss. I’ve always thought thus, but in the past I would push past it with the thought that if I could not be soft and content in my ignorance, I could persevere, could push past with sheer will and surmount everything that stood in the way of my happiness.

But no.

In my stupidity and youth I made a fatal mistake.

I thought I could be a sword, lethal to obstacles and a sharp tool to gain me what I wanted, what I needed. But I wasn’t. I was a dull chef’s knife, one prone to slipping and cutting into the hand wielding it, inefficient and cursed.

No. I don’t want to be one of those women who use their femininity as a weapon. I don’t want to be demure and resigned either.

However, there has to be a happy medium, one in which I can set aside my constant need for revolution and be content with defending what I want and need.

I don’t want to be a broadsword, nor a needle, but perhaps I can be a soft sword. I’ve always been fond of that (mythical?) weapon and I should have taken a hint from that. Soft enough to be used as a belt when at rest, resilient enough to be wielded as a whip, but capable of driving into stone when infused with will.

The key right now is deciding what I want, what battles I will fight, and what lines are drawn. If nothing else, at least I have the enviable chance of being able to figure that out right now.

There is a poem that goes “ten years I have honed my sword/ never has it been tried/ now I show it to you/ and ask what injustice is there”.

What sword have I honed and what injustice is there?

Updates, things and stuff

So. August was a bit of a wash. By which I mean all of my plans and good intentions ran into reality the way Typhoon Soudelor wrecked Taiwan.

Which, by the way, was kinda awe inspiring in the sense of watching a volcano erupt really puts a human in their place. Half the trees in the city are gone because they got uprooted. Windmill blades were torn away. The winds blew so hard that glass shattered in their frames. Huge numbers of people lost power and water and a good number of people lost their homes entirely. The person who came up with the saying “human perseverance can triumph over nature”? I don’t know what shroom he was on, but it must have been the good stuff.

The good news is that all the visitations should be all done now. I went to Japan with my family for our annual “quality time” trip, then to Guangzhou China to see my grandfather, came back to Taiwan and took a train down to Hualien to see my aunt.

All that travel was exhausting and literally sickening; I spent about five days in bed to recover and I think I’m only now over the worst of it. Mixed up somewhere in there was the worst depressive episode I’ve had in years and that alone took about a week to get past.

Tangent: I no longer get peevy about authors dropping off the face of the planet, leaving unfinished series behind. It’s upsetting, yeah, but I got no room to talk, and if the statistics are true about writers having some of the highest depression/suicide rates around…

The bad news is, of course, that almost nothing got done.

Welp. September is a new month and I’ve decided to mute everything except the writing until I get at least one thing done, even if it’s just a short. No more accepting dinner invites, no more travel, no more visits, no venturing out from the writing cave.

The other good news is that I think I know what’s wrong with the second book now. I remember how I struggled with book one until I woke up, slapped myself, and cut it from 122k to about 62k. There’s a lot going on in the book right now that I don’t think strictly needs to be there and I was running myself ragged trying to pay equal attention to all the things that needed it.

So. Characters are going to get trimmed and events are going to get pushed back. The latter is kind of problematic because I really don’t want this to turn into a ten book series. Especially because the cover artist who did my first two covers has disappeared off the face of the planet with my third cover and I can’t manage to get in contact with her. I might need to suck it up and just have a different style of cover for the latter books in the series, but right now the uncertainty is killing me and any motivation for the project.

Yeah. I’m a ghost shrimp. Everything has to be just so or I start freaking out instead of being productive.

Then again, Phoenix Chosen is currently quietly sitting in the corner in terms of interest and sales, so I might be able to just shove it in a corner and ignore it for a while until I figure out the artist.

Or, I just might release an epic-length book and have it in parts, with each part being a discrete book.


We’ll see.

My Kelly-darling has come up with crits and edits for the first portion of Goddess in Waiting, so that will probably end up being what I concentrate on in September.

*stares up at the heavens* No more typhoons, please.